Students who would like exposure to a wide range of courses in the traditional American law school curriculum to supplement their knowledge of the law of another country may enroll in courses throughout the entire curriculum. Many of these students pursue the General LLM degree, using the program for a broad survey of US law.
Students may instead pursue specialized degrees, exploring their areas of interest in ways not permitted in most JD or LLB programs. The LLM in Admiralty, the LLM in Energy & Environment, and the LLM in International & Comparative Law are designed for this purpose. In addition, some students use the General LLM degree to concentrate in other areas in which the Law School offers curricular depth, such as intellectual property or US constitutional law.
The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) program is a small and selective program designed for students who already hold the LLM and whose objective is to engage in significant scholarly research in the form of a dissertation.
Standard Degree Requirements for the LLM Programs
Each of the master’s degree (LLM) programs requires completion of 24 semester hours of coursework, up to three of which may be taken in a Tulane Law School summer abroad program. Most students complete the degree requirements during a single academic year. Although there is no thesis requirement, LLM students are required to write at least one paper in connection with a seminar in their field of interest or in connection with a directed research project.
For those students who received the JD or LLB (or equivalent) from a school located outside of the United States, enrollment in Tulane’s three-week summer orientation course, Introduction to US Law, is mandatory. The session begins in late July each year.
International students also take a required legal research and writing course in the fall. Degree Requirements for the SJD Because the Tulane SJD program is a small and very selective one, each SJD student is assigned a faculty advisor upon admission. The faculty advisor and SJD student work together to design an individualized program, which includes at least one semester of fulltime coursework at Tulane. Upon completion of coursework, the SJD student proceeds to research and write the dissertation, conferring with his or her advisor along the way and submitting drafts for review and feedback.
Tulane’s expectation is that the final SJD dissertation will be submitted within four years following initial enrollment in the program. The dissertation is to make an original and significant contribution to legal scholarship.
Each candidate defends his or her dissertation in an oral examination before a committee of the Tulane Law School faculty, supplemented with other University faculty where appropriate.
Residency Requirements and Length of Study – LLM
All four LLM programs are offered on a full-time and part-time basis. Full-time students are expected to complete the LLM in two semesters, or one academic year. All part-time LLM students must complete the program in four consecutive (non-summer) semesters.
The LLM in Admiralty part-time program is an option only to attorneys in full-time practice in the New Orleans area. Due to student visa requirements, many international students are required to enroll on a full-time basis.
All international LLM students begin the Introduction to US Law course in mid-July and proceed directly into the fall semester, which begins in late August and concludes at the beginning of December; fall-semester exams take place in December before the winter break. The spring semester begins in mid-January and concludes in late April, followed by spring-semester exams. Commencement ceremonies and conferral of degrees take place in May.
Residency Requirements and Length of Study – SJD
During the first semester of enrollment, SJD students take between 10 and 12 credits of coursework. Thereafter, most SJD students work full-time on the dissertation until it is completed. It is the expectation of the faculty that the SJD will be completed with four years of initial enrollment.
Tulane Law offers the following graduate programs: